Grand Canyon Antelopes Article

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Grand Canyon Antelopes
Logo
University Grand Canyon University
Conference WAC
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Mike Vaught
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Varsity teams21
Basketball arena GCU Arena (7,000)
Baseball stadium Brazell Stadium (1,500)
Soccer stadium GCU Stadium (6,000)
Other arenasAntelope Gymnasium (2,000)
MascotThunder the Antelope
NicknameAntelopes
ColorsPurple, White, and Black [1]
              
Website www.gculopes.com
Western Athletic Conference in Grand Canyon's colors

The Grand Canyon Antelopes are the 21 athletic teams representing Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, more commonly referred to as the Lopes. Most of the university's athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division I level in the Western Athletic Conference. Men's volleyball competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) effective beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. The beach volleyball program competes as an independent.

Athletic expansion

GCU was a member of the NAIA until the early 1990s when it transferred to NCAA Division II, in which it competed until 2013.

The university has undergone a transition from a small struggling non-profit liberal arts college to a large modern for-profit private university. Along with the general campus upgrades has come an increase in athletics and athletic facilities.

On November 27, 2012, Grand Canyon University announced that it had accepted an invitation to join Division I's Western Athletic Conference, effective July 1, 2013. [2] This move made Grand Canyon the only for-profit institution with a Division I athletic program. [3]

GCU's business model was at the center of an emerging controversy in college sports. In July 2013, the chief executives of all 12 members of the Pac-12 Conference sent a joint letter to the NCAA asking that the organization review whether for-profit institutions have a place in Division I sports. [4] Later that year, Arizona State University issued a separate statement questioning the school's allegiance to the NCAA's business model. [5] GCU CEO Brian Mueller accused ASU president Michael Crow of being behind the Pac-12 letter. [6] Crow would later double down on his accusations, falsely claiming in 2017 that 11 of the 12 Pac-12 schools would not play GCU because of its for-profit business model, and also asserting that GCU sought to play Pac-12 schools solely for exposure on the Pac-12 Network. [5] As of February 2018, ASU continues to refuse to schedule GCU in any sport; however, counter to Crow's 2017 assertion, 10 Pac-12 members have scheduled GCU in at least one sport since the Antelopes' move to Division I, although only Arizona and Utah had faced GCU in men's basketball. [5]

The university announced a five-year sponsorship deal with Nike on May 27, 2015 as a part of Grand Canyon's athletic expansion.

On August 23, 2017, the NCAA officially approved Grand Canyon's move to Division I, elevating the university to active membership status. GCU immediately became eligible for all forms of postseason competition. [7]

Sports

Grand Canyon University sponsors teams in 10 men's and 11 women's NCAA sanctioned sports: [8]